Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

New-England Based Charity Founded By Indian-American Woman Comes Under Scrutiny For Missing Funds

New England Based Non-profit Charity fund “We Care Charity” run by Indian-origin woman, has reportedly come under scrutiny after the volunteer bookkeeper reported a that at least $150,000 was spent in unexplained expenditures along with other finance related information which was not kept under public knowledge.

An Indian-American woman who runs a charity that provides free food and clothes to people both in India and the U.S. is under scrutiny after reports surfaced that $150,000 have gone missing from the charity’s account. Shefali Desai Kalyani, who is based in New-Hampshire and owns the charity there said the irregularities happened due to accounting errors.

The website of We Care Charity (WCC) claims its mission is “to feed the hungry and nourish souls.” The non-profit 501(c)(3) organization claims to feed at least an average of 2000 people each month along with providing the needy with clothes in the New Hampshire, New England. As per the information in the WCC website, the organization runs at least thirteen soup kitchens and two children’s home in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The organization has a project in India called “Education for Grains” in Pune where it provides food to low-income families to prevent their children from working. WCC also runs a private school for extremely bright students who live in slum areas.

According to India New England News, six former members of the 8-member Board of Advisors of the organization complained to the Internal Revenue Service and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office about the organization’s accounting irregularities, diversion of funds for personal use, and discrepancies in tax filings for years.

The publication said all the Board of Advisors of the organization have resigned after they were informed about inaccuracies in financial reports of the organization. A former member of the organization Bipin Parekh, who also runs a community channel, cited the reason of resignation as to allow “WCC to work out the operational details; we plan to volunteer and re-join as advisors once all the issues are resolved”, adding “I was the only advisor who was not a big donor sponsor.”

Jay Srinivasan, the former bookkeeper of the organization who was involved in a project called Dil Se said, “it is a fact that IRS and State of NH Attorney general have been informed about the tax return errors and irregularities.”

Adding that through publicly available document, he became aware of several tax discrepancies and accounting irregularities. He also claimed to find an unexplained expenditure of between $150,000 and $200,000. In an interview with India New England News, he said despite the organization’s claim that all the donation goes to charity, the founder took $45,000 salary in an organization where the annual revenue stands at $120,000.

“Only about 25% of the funds raised goes toward food/groceries from WCC as per the actual bank statements as well as publicly available tax returns of 2015 and 2016,” the publication quoted him as saying.

“During the past few weeks we have identified several accounting errors/irregularities in WCC through their bank statements. This news has been brought to the attention of all Board of Directors and Board of advisors,” a Facebook post of the bookkeeper read.

The publication quoted Shefali saying, “We have the right professionals working on addressing the Board of Advisors’ recommendations. We are committed to fixing all mistakes that may have been made. We need to give them the time to do their work and once complete, we will share the appropriate information to the community. We will appoint a new board of advisors at the appropriate time. In the mean-time we continue to do our work of feeding the hungry and serving those in need.”